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EILEEN FARRELL

HOMETOWN | Willimantic, CT [1920-2002]

BIO | Farrell's parents were vaudeville singers and teachers [music and drama]; the family moved to Rhode Island in 1936, and Eileen attended Woonsocket High School from 1936-'39. She then set off for New York City, found work at CBS Radio, and soon had her own half-hour program, Eileen Farrell Sings, a mix of popular and classical music which ran for five years. In 1947 she concentrated on her opera career, which featured stints in the '60s with the Metropolitan Opera and the New York Philharmonic [with Leonard Bernstein]. The Daily Telegraph [UK] deemed her "one of the finest American sopranos of the 20th century." She also recorded pop albums for Columbia, and sang the blues toward the end of her career.

OFF STAGE | Farrell was a professor of music at Indiana University [1971-'80] and the University of Maine at Orono [1983-'85], and wrote a memoir, Can't Help Singing, in 1999.

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